In recent weeks we have seen the ugly truth of what a post-Christian America looks like. From the unveiling of a statue of Baphomet by Satanists in Detroit last weekend, to the release of multiple undercover videos of Planned Parenthood sorting through aborted babies and negotiating the sale of their parts, Americans have witnessed nothing less than the manifestation of pure evil in our time. Satan is indeed prowling about our country seeking the ruin of souls.
In the midst of this moral depravity and horrific evil I recently came across Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus”. While it was written over a century ago (November 1, 1900), his prophetic words cry out for our full attention today. The citizens of our sick land need to ponder the words of Pope Leo.
“From this it may clearly be seen what consequences are to be expected from that false pride which, rejecting our Saviour’s Kingship, places man at the summit of all things and declares that human nature must rule supreme. And yet, this supreme rule can neither be attained nor even defined. The rule of Jesus Christ derives its form and its power from Divine Love: a holy and orderly charity is both its foundation and its crown. Its necessary consequences are the strict fulfilment of duty, respect of mutual rights, the estimation of the things of heaven above those of earth, the preference of the love of God to all things. But this supremacy of man, which openly rejects Christ, or at least ignores Him, is entirely founded upon selfishness, knowing neither charity nor self-devotion. Man may indeed be king, through Jesus Christ: but only on condition that he first of all obey God, and diligently seek his rule of life in God’s law…” (TFP, 7)
“As with individuals, so with nations. These, too, must necessarily tend to ruin if they go astray from “The Way.” The Son of God, the Creator and Redeemer of mankind, is King and Lord of the earth, and holds supreme dominion over men, both individually and collectively…Therefore the law of Christ ought to prevail in human society and be the guide and teacher of public as well as of private life. Since this is so by divine decree, and no man may with impunity contravene it, it is an evil thing for the common weal wherever Christianity does not hold the place that belongs to it. When Jesus Christ is absent, human reason fails, being bereft of its chief protection and light, and the very end is lost sight of, for which, under God’s providence, human society has been built up. This end is the obtaining by the members of society of natural good through the aid of civil unity, though always in harmony with the perfect and eternal good which is above nature. But when men’s minds are clouded, both rulers and ruled go astray, for they have no safe line to follow nor end to aim at.” (TFP, 8)
Photo of the Tomb of Pope Leo XIII, by Giulio Tadolini (1849-1918), St John Lateran, Rome.
Brian Williams is a convert who entered the Catholic Church in 2006. He is a graduate of Long Beach State University with a BA in History. Brian blogs on life, liturgy and the pursuit of holiness at liturgyguy.com. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and five children.